Howard County school takes bullying by the horns

ELLICOT CITY, Md. - Inside Centennial High School in Howard County, they're signing a pledge.


Every signature scribed on the feathers of their eagle mascot; a promise not to ruffle them by treating their classmates with respect and compassion both in person and online.


"Even a small thing like taking a few seconds out of your day to sign it, if that means that you're against putting someone down and making yourself feel better by making someone else feel worse, then I am all for it.  You gotta stand up for what's right."


Junior Zack Newman is just one of hundreds of centennial students standing up for what's right as the pledge feathers and banner continues to fill up.


It represents a message received after a week long focus to not only make students aware of bullying, but make the complete absence of it part of the culture here.


An idea the school staff had after their recent study revealed nearly 40 percent of their students felt bullied either in person or online


"We looked at that data and it was pretty high so we as a school through our school improvement team elected to take this on," said Principal Carl Perkins.


It started Monday with a video produced by and for students, which you can see here.


Students spent time discussing the video and then through the rest of the week listened to speakers and even participating in a contest to create and vote on a new school motto.


A week long of extended homerooms, integrated lesson plans and afternoon discussion on bullying that seems to have made the point.


"It really has opened our eyes to make us realize how prevalent bullying is and what we can do to squelch it and not make kids feel bad about themselves and really boost kids' confidence and make them stand up," said Junior Kirsten Henningsen.


The staff at Centennial High School says they will take the most successful parts of this week and implement them in the years to come; all to make anti-bullying a permanent part of the school's culture.

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